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Pre-Milestone-A Cost Analysis: Progress, Challenges, and Change

Analysis Track

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Pre-Milestone-A Cost Analysis: It’s a relatively new concept in the defense community, but one very familiar to the early cost analysis research team at the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Cost and Economics (ODASA-CE). With over eighteen months logged in parallel research and application efforts, the time investment continues to produce dividends of both progress and salient lessons learned. More than ever, it is clear that early acquisition investment decisions must be cost-informed, and the demand for this early cost information is growing.

There are three major elements that enable Pre-Milestone-A cost estimating. The first is an analysis framework that can make use of qualitative capability data (along with any physical, technical, and performance data available at that time) to produce a cost estimate. The second is a cumulative high-level cost data source that links systems to their capability sets. The third is an analysis culture with the policy, procedure, and willingness to develop and/or accept cost estimates that are less precise than those developed at Milestone B or Milestone C.

The first element, the capability-based analysis framework, has been developed and is being continuously refined and applied under our research efforts1. The second element, the high-level capability mapping coupled to cost data, has been developed, populated, and is growing as more data becomes available2. The third element, however, is one that involves more than mere research and data collection. It requires large-scale, department-wide culture change within and around the analysis community. It is clear that, without this third element, an ample supply of elements one and two alone will not enable capability-based, early cost estimating. This paper expands on lessons learned, and explores analytical and culture barriers to effective Pre-Milestone-A analysis.


Martha Roper
Ms. Roper is a Senior Operations Research Analyst for the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Cost and Economics (ODASA-CE). She is a member of the Weapons Systems Costing Division and leads early life cycle cost initiatives and analysis. Prior to her arrival at Army headquarters, Ms. Roper conducted intelligence studies for the National Ground Intelligence Center, which investigates foreign military technologies development. Ms. Roper graduated with highest honors as a Bachelor and Master of Science in Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE) from the Georgia Institute of Technology.